Bishop Thaddeus Peplowski in Memoriam

Ordained to the priesthood May 15th 1958
Bishop Ordinary of the Buffalo-Pittsburg Diocese 1990-2012
Bishop Protector the Nordic Catholic Church 1999-2011

On Friday January 19th, after nine months of declining health, the Right Rev. Thaddeus Peplowski, died at the age of 81. Bishop Thaddeus’ ecclesiastical life was as spiritually rich and wide-ranging as the bishop himself. He leaves behind a strong legacy from his lifelong charismatic and highly targeted leadership.

After nine years of service as assistant pastor at the Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral in Buffalo, he was assigned to other parishes in the widespread Buffalo-Pittsburg diocese and for some time also as missionary priest in Canada. When he returned to the Buffalo area in 1990, it was as Bishop of the PNCC’s Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese. During his term in office Bishop Thaddeus organised twelve new parishes including the purchase of two church buildings.

However, his crowning achievement was the relocation of the cathedral from Buffalo to a new church center in Lancaster. His courage and inspiration were essential to the successful completion of this multi-million dollar project. In 1995 at the 100th anniversary of the founding of the parish the Cathedral was dedicated, and in 2012 the entire building complex was completed with rectory, offices and bell tower.

Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral, Lancaster

Bishop Thaddeus travelled frequently to Europe taking part at Old Catholic episcopal conferences and various ecumenical meetings. He had a private audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome. He also met with Patriarch Bartholomew I in Constantinople (Istanbul) having served as PNCC representative to the Old Catholic/Orthodox Dialogue Commission.

Bishop Thaddeus made his first acquaintance with Scandinavians at the Forward in Faith Assembly in London in 1998. Learning about the predicament of the so-called high church movements in Norway and Sweden, he spontaneously accepted an invitation to visit the Norwegian Church Union’s conference the following year. This led him to suggest to the Prime Bishop John Swantek of the PNCC that a mixed group of clergy should be invited to Scranton for talks. In April 1999 this dialogue was concluded with “The Statement of Faith” making it possible for Bishop Thaddeus to came back to Norway in the fall of the same year, confirming the first twelve members of the Nordic Catholic Church and ordaining of two priests and one deacon. In the spring of 2000 the Nordic Catholic Church was registered as a religious community with the Norwegian authorities.

After that, Bishop Thaddeus came to Norway on a yearly basis. In 2003 he formalised the administrative structure of the Nordic Catholic Church by convoking the first General Synod. Amongst the usual episcopal tasks, Bishop Thaddeus also consecrated three churches and two house chapels in Norway. His last proud and formal act as Bishop Protector of the Nordic Catholic Church was to install his successor in 2011. Moreover, as our work began to grow further he enthusiastically found time to make extended visits to Italy, Sweden and Germany.

Installation of Bishop Roald Nikolai Flemestad – Oslo, August 7th 2011

Bishop Thaddeus took a deep interest in the doings of the young church and was always ready to discuss big and small issues and had many times exciting suggestions on how to move forward. His profound engagement and commitment for the work of the Church in Europe lasted until his death.

The funeral mass of the Resurrection was celebrated on Friday January 26th in the Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral with Prime Bishop Anthony Mikovsky of the PNCC as the main celebrant and Bishop Edward Grosz of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo gave the homily. Thereafter Bishop Thaddeus was laid to rest in front of the Pieta statue on the church grounds. Around four hundred took part in the funeral ceremony, and many were those who during his lying in state honoured the spiritual life and accomplishments of the beloved Bishop Thaddeus Peplowski.

We remember him as a spiritual Pastor with a warm heart and profound concern for the those he took in his care. We thank God for him and know he will remember us in his prayers at the heavenly throne.

+Roald Nikolai Flemestad
Bishop of the Nordic Catholic Church

Translate »